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Freight Sentiment Indexes

A quarterly assessment of freight market conditions, as reported by the people involved.

Updated: Oct. 17, 2022



Every quarter, FreightWaves surveys its shipper, carrier and broker contacts with a handful of sector-specific questions. The idea is to gauge how things feel on the ground level.

These overall freight sentiment indexes (FSI) are derived from five questions we ask contacts in each sector. We survey carriers, brokers/3PLs and shippers separately, and require at least 100 responses. The questions are as follows:

  1. Near-Term Profitability Sentiment — What are your expectations for profitability in Q4 compared to Q3? (With -100 meaning significantly less profitable and 100 meaning significantly more profitable.)
  2. Longer-Term Profitability Sentiment — What are your expectations for profitability 12 months from now — in Q[current] [next year], compared to Q[current] [this year]? (With -100 meaning significantly less profitable and 100 meaning significantly more profitable.)
  3. Near-Term Workforce Sentiment — What are your expectations for workforce changes at your company this quarter? (With -100 meaning significant reductions and 100 meaning significant additions.)
  4. Longer-Term Workforce Sentiment — What are your expectations for workforce changes at your company over the next 12 months? (With -100 meaning significant reductions and 100 meaning significant additions.)
  5. Business Investment Sentiment — How do you view current conditions for technology investments at your company? (With -100 meaning it’s the worst possible time to invest in new tech and 100 meaning it’s the best possible time to invest in new tech.)

For each individual sector, segment sentiment is calculated by averaging together the results from each question, which are themselves averaged from all respondents. The questions are equally weighted, so segment sentiment = (Q1 avg. + Q2 avg. + Q3 avg. + Q4 avg. + Q5 avg.) / 5.

Along these lines, the overall sentiment = (shipper sentiment + broker/3PL sentiment + carrier sentiment) / 3.